Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Papette, Tahiti - 4WD Excursion

After a good night's sleep we were ready to explore Papette, Tahiti. We decided to book the Papenoo Valley And Waterfall By 4wd shore excursion offered by Princess Cruises. If you are in reasonably good health (no heart or back problems for example) a 4WD adventure is a great way to see the island of Tahiti. There is an expansive network of off-road trails which transport you from sea level to the highest mountain peaks on the island.

We began our tour from the pier and made our first stop at Pointe de Tapahi where we had magnificent views of the east coast of Tahiti. Lush vegetaion framed our view of the scenic coastline. If it weren't for the white caps which formed as waves splashed against the rocks below, it would have been hard to determine where the sky ended and the sea began. As usual, I won't leave it to your imagination to picture this scene. See our Papette photo album for pictures from this tour.

The tour continued with a drive through the Papenoo Valley. Our jeep caravan stopped in the midst of lush vegetation where the sound of rushing water could be heard. It didn't take long before we could see the towering waterfall ahead of us. We have seen many waterfalls in our journeys, but never anything as amazing as the ones we saw on Tahiti island. Some of our group took a dip in the pool formed at the base of the waterfall.

We drove through the valley stopping for a view of the Papenoo River. It reminded me of the Grand Canyon, except with lush vegetation instead of rocky terrain. The river curved through the valley surrounded by mountain peaks. In addition to the lush green vegetation, we saw beautiful tropical flowers in many colors. The most interesting green vegetation was a leaf that would curl up if you touched it.

Before returning to the ship, we stopped for refrehsments which included fresh coconut milk and various local fruits. We thoroughly enjoyed this tour which took us off the beaten path and into the heart and soul of Tahiti. We were able to talk with local inhabitants enabling us to learn more about the culture.

This was only the beginning of our Tahiti adventure. When we rejoin this cruise story, you'll be in Huahine. Until then, may you have warm tropical thoughts.

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